The Clan McLaurin

Arrived Late 1700 Wilmington NC


Logan in his "history of the highland clans," in speaking of the "clan Laurin., is history, origin and locality," says: the Maclaurins afford and instance of a claim of very ancient descent. “Loarn or laurin, one of the sons of eric, who settled in argyle in 502, acquired that district (Lorne) which from his is said to have obtained its name. This appellation, however spelt, is invariably pronounced laurin by the gael; and there can be no reasonable doubt that is is a notification of lawrence, the name of the saint who suffered martyrdom under balerian, 261; its gaelic orthography is labbrin, the bh being quiescent."
Peter macgregor also says: - "the powerful and originally dalriadic clan Labbrin, pronounced Laurin, Maclaurin, Mclaren or Lareuson, settled in argyle and islay in the 5th and 6th century. The name Laurin means identical with lorn or derived from the same root, and that root is held to be Laurence. Three brothers of the clan are said to have received in the old days the lands of Auchleskins, Stank and Broich. In the year 1296 three barons swore fealty to Edward 1, Maurice of tiree, Conan of balquidder and Laurin of Strathearn, all beleived to be of clan Laurin, Maclaurin or Broich is held to be chief of the Clan."
Again Logan says: - "in 643 Kenneth Macalpine, chief of the posterity of the above brothers (Fergus and Loarn sons of Erc) and their followers, overthrew the southers picts, took possession of their territories and transferred the seat of government to their capital Abernethe, county of Perth, where he was crowned king of all Scotland. It was a well-known practice of conquerors to apportion the lands they acquired among their victorious followers, and it is somewhat stronger than assumption to say that the chief of the tribe of Argyle received a due share. Balquidderl and Strachearn has ever been knows as " the Country of the clan Laurin."
It is probable that the greater number of the clan must have transported itself thither, and greatly flourished for four or five centuries, as is demonstrated by the fact that "no one doest go into the church until the Maclaurins had entered and taken their seats," and by the many wars, fueds and fights in which they engaged. Logan continues: - "in the reign of king David 1 Malise, then Earl, led his followers the Labernani (which could be no other than the clan Laurin" says the accurate and learned lord Hailes in his annals of Scotland) to the Battle of the Standard in 1138. This body of men must have comprehended both branches of the clan, Argyle not being then a seperate county. Hence they would form a body sufficient to deserve a special mention from the historian Aldred." "This Earldom (of Straichern) underwent many changes, until it was vested in the crown, 1378, when the Maclaurins were reduced from the condition of proprietors to that of "kindly or perpetual tenants." In 1588 it was thought expedient that this Celtic holding should be changed and the lands set in fear for increase of policy, and augmentation of the king's rental, but it was justly considered that as they had punctually discharged what was enacted, and from aye to aye payed compositions to the exchequer, at entry of heirs, built houses, plainted yards, parks woods and other policie, serving their prince at all times" as at Brannockburn with King James III, flodden with King James IV, and after at pinky - whether it is agreeable to justice, that so many honest gentlemen should be ruined altogether in their estates, if that earldom be again separated and enclad from the crown." "Nevertheless it was done, and owing to this and to that strong sense of justice which led the Maclaurins to take the weaker side in most fueds and affrays, this branch had become so much reduced that by the year 1558, "when mMost of the highland clans were just beginning to be organized - it fell an easy prey to the out-lawed Macgregors, who were forcibly ejected from clan Dochart and being friendless, hopeless nad forlorn fell upon the rennant of the unsuspecting clan Laurin, composed mostly of old men, women and children, and in the dead of night killed nearly all of them, taking possession of their homes and cattle. The survivors scattered, but the clan have rallied wonferfully from what seemed a death blow for both in 1587 and 1594, when the roll of the clans, who had captains, chiefs and chieftains 'quhome on their depend' the name of clan Laurin appears, thus proving their independence." At the present day it still keeps up its organization, being yet an unbroken Clan.
The clan Laurin of old composed a part of that celebrated tribe, the Scotti or Dalriada, which came orginally from the continent, settled first in Ireland, crossed over into Scotland in the year 503 or thereabouts, where by bravery and ability it eventually succeeded in subduing the country, and in changing the name of ancient Caldonia into Scotland. The encyclopedia britanica says: - "The transfer of the name was due to the rise and progress of those scots called Dalriad, which migrated from Dalriade, Antrim, Ireland, to Argyle in the beginning of the 6th century." Irish traditions represent these scotts as Milesians from spain."
The cast of face, the straight, high nose of this tribe, and the names Andrew, Alexander, Cornelius (beill) and others would seem to denote a grecian origin, and this would seem to be borne out by the fact that the Lesesii were Greeks who settled in Ionia in Asia minor, from Atticus, Greece, and became very powerful land aggressive people.
The other branch of the clan Lurin, which remained in the place of its first planting, was probably composed of the more conservative, well-to-do and better educated numbers of the clan. Their land, of which they were the Allodian possessors, was no doubt taken from them, not by the crown, but by the grasping and unscrupulous Campbells, "whose name (so it is written) was never heard in Scotland until the year 1216 and was of no importance until 1296." As is well known, the Campbells, now represenrepresented by the Dukes of Argyle, have gradually absorbed that portion of Scotland.
To this branch of the clan Laurin belonged the celebrated philosopher and Mathematical genius, Colin Maclaurin, the frined and companion of Sir Isaac Newton, who translated the psalms into Gaelic and "whose brilliant writings secured for him the friendship of the most eminent men of the day." His textbooks on mathematics are still used in Scotland and in France. His son Lord Dreghorne was an author of Repute, and a senator of the college of justice, Edinburgh. He claimed the chieftainship of this branch, and the arms granted him differed slightly from those adhered to by the strachearn branch.
"The armorial bearings of the clan Laurin of ole are: or, two chevrons Gulo, in base a lymphad sails furled oars in action sable, all within a bordure, ingrailed gules. Crest on a casque and wreath of the colors ak lions's head erased, between two laurel branches orlewise proper, meeting on an eastern crown of four points or motto over the achievement Dalriada. Underneath ab origins fidus-ever faithful, literally faithful from the beginning, which has always been true of the clan, often to its own undoing. "Suaichoantas or badge of the clan labrail, otherwise buaidh cruoble, or wild laurel-laureola. Oathchairn or warcry craig tuire - the cock of the boar. Slogan a turk's head."
It was to the branch of the clan Laurin that the ancestors of the writer belonged. Duncan and Mary Maclaurin, both Maclaurins by birth, and second cousins came to America from Glen Etive, near Appin Argyleshire, Scotland in the year 1795 with their seven sons and two daughters. It was no lack of prosperity nor desire to better their fortunes that led these parents to take this step, for they carried on a large fern in one of the most fertile and picturesque parts of Scotland. Their home was a large white house, so my Grandfather used to tell his children, in the beautiful glen near loch Etive, surrounded by majestic mountains, and situated upon a stream so clear, that the Salmon could be seen lying twenty-four feet below, but they had seven sons and the british government had, since the last uprising of the clans in 1745, become very strict in requiring the young highlanders to serve in the army. Mary Maclaurin had had ten brothers in the battle of culloden, several of whom were slain, so she naturally felt a horror of war and bloodshed. When, therefore, the oldest of these sons reached the age of eighteen years, they determined to leave home and country rather than part with any of their children.
The eldest John and Hugh were being educated at the University of Glasgow. The family sailed from scotland on the 31th of ____ in the year 1790, and did not reach Wilmington, NC until the 5th of December owing to the ship's getting out of her course. Water had become very scarce, and it was a wearied lot that finally stepped ashore in the new world. Sixteen families of the name Maclaurin were among these, all more or less related, and doubtless leaving Scotland for the same cause. A number of them were clergymen, whose destination was Virginia and New York. In all likelihood, one of these, the Rev. Edward Mclaurin, an Episcopal clergyman, was the grandfather of Col. John s. Mosly, the great confederate chieftain. Rev. H.M. White, D.D., of Virginia, and his son both celebrated Presbyterian ministers are descended from one of them in all probability. Most of those nearest of kin, however, settled either in Richmond, now Scotland county, N.C., or just over the border in South Carolina. Laurinburg, named in honor of the clan, is a flourishing town and county-seat. Later on, a number removed to Mississippi. Among them was Laughlin Maclaurin, a nephew of Duncan or Mary, whose son Anselm Joseph Maclaurin became successively the governor of Mississippi and U.S. senator from that state. Another son became a judge, and all of his eight sons were distinguished and able men. One, who remained in S.C. the youngest brother of Lauchlin, John l., becambecame the grandfather of governor and ex-senator John Lowndes Maclaurin of S.C., whose father was Phillip Maclaurin.
Duncan and Mary Mclaurin with their seven sons John, Hugh, Lauchlin, Neill, Duncan, Donald and James, and their two daughters Nancy and Effie established themselves at Laurel Hill, several miles to the northeast of Laurinburg, and named in horor of the badge of the clan, a sprig of mountain Laurel. The new home was about forty miles from the town of Fayetteville, N.C. the sons as they grew to manhood, with the exception of James, the youngest, established themselves elsewhere, but the parents lived at Laurel Hill for the rest of their lives. Their eldest son, John, went very soon to Fayetteville where he became one of its wealthiest and most prominent citizens. He married mary Matthews, a very cultivated and charming woman. They had a large family of beautiful daughters, and three sons, John, the eldest, was clerk of the superior court of Cumberland County for pratically all his life. He never married. Duncan and William, the younger sons, succeeded to their father's business, which they carried on successfully, until the coming on of the civil war, and death of William, who had married Elizabeth Whitehead and left quite a family of children. Duncan married his first cousin, Elizabeth Eccels, the daughter of a celebrated lawyer, and after the war removed to Florida, where some of his children and grandchildren are still living. His son, joseph hooper Mclaurin of Jacksonville Is president of the southers crocers' association.
The second son, Hugh, of Duncan and Mary mclaurin probably accepted the the offer of a certain "old uncle Daniel" Maclaurin, as he was always called, who was said to have owned nearly the whole of Hines county, Miss and to have offered to give five farms to any of his kinsman who would remove to that state. At any rate, hugh prospered greatly, and his only child, Duncan, became one of The wealthiest men in those parts. It was this Duncan Maclaurin who spent $3,000 in the courts to prove the owners of a worthless pony, which someone else claimed, because his word had been doubted. He married the widow of a cousin, Hugh Mclaurin, who had a very pretty and interesting daughter Rachel. He also had two beautiful daughters of his own, Jeanie and Oiselle. Nan Mclaurin married there judge Anslem Myers (pronounced Meeres), the noted jurist of LA. Rachel Married Col. William Mcneill, orginally of Robeson County, N.C., and died a few years ago at Brandon, Miss.
Laughlin, the third son, and Donald, the sixth, of Duncan and Mary Mclaurin carried on a successful business at Fayetteville under the firm name of l. and D. Mclaurin. These brothers never married, but educated their sister Effie, the youngest child of the family in Fayetteville, where she kept house for them. She married Mr. Augustine, shepherd of the well-known Va. family and an uncle of Judge Jesse G. Shepherd of Fayetteville, and removed to Wadesboro, N.C., where her daughter, Catherine, wife of Col. R.T. Bennett still lives. Frederic Shephard, the only son of Augustine and Effie Mclaurin Shepherd, made a fortune in the wholesale boot and shoe business in Nashvile, Tenn.
Neill Mclaurin, the fourth son of Duncan and Mary Mclaurin, and the grandfather of the writer, was said not to have been so handsome as most of his brothers, but he had a fine intellectual face, and he was a man of scholarly attainments, who used often to sit up most of the night reading and studying. To the study of French he was expecially devoted. Still, bookworm though he was he succeeded well in the business world and because of his ability and conscientiousness. For many years he was a member of the prosperous mercantile firm of Mccall and Mclaurin, doing business mostly wholesale in Wilmington, during the closing years of the 18th and earlier years of the 19th centuries. By the failure of a large firm, Kershaw and Ochiltree, of Fayetteville, and the loss of a large sum by going security for a friend, the business was greatly weakened about the year 1832, but was probably continued some time longer. After that he was deputy collector of the port until failing health compelled him to resign. Neill Mclaurin was exceedingly absentminded and many amusing antedotes are told of him regarding this trait. He had been visiting his brother John one summer at the country home of the family about ten miles from Fayetteville. When the time came for his return home, he was left to spend the night at the town house under the care of billy, a faithful manservant, in order to catch the boat down the cape fear river, which started very early in the morning. At Nine o'clock, when his brother drove up and opened the door, there he sat absorbed in a book. Billy, seeing his absorption had been too polite to Interrupt him. He had sat up and nodded all night, supplying fresh candles. Never was a man more beloved by his friends, and he had no enemies. In the year 1831, when he was fifty-three years old, he revisited the highlands. He married in April, 1817, Jane Murphy (originally Macmurphy) who had removed from Fayetteville to Wilmington two years before and was a descendant of another Scottish family, who had come to America in 1770 from Cambellton, Canty Scotland, Robert Murphy had married his second cousin Jean Murphy, the daughter of Alexander Murphy, also of Cumberland Country, N.C. Jane Murphy Mclaurin was a most generous and unselfish woman, whose life was spent in devoted care not only of her husband, but of her brothers and sisters left orphans at an early age.

Children of Neill and Jane McLaurin:

Robert Duncan -------------------------------------- died 1825 aged seven years
Joseph, married Nancy Swain Wilbur of Nantucket ---- died June 7, 1902
Mary, married Dr. Robert D. Dickson ---------- died in Laurinburg, Nov 30, 1880
Margaret, married Michael Cronly, native of NY ----- died Jan 2, 1910
Catherine, married Hays White Beatty, Bladen Co, NC - died April 23, 1907
Jon, married Catherine Holmes Blanks --------------- died Dec 23, 1907
Hugh Washington, marriedd Mary Moore Blanks widow of Jesse Blanks-died Dec 17 1913
Jane McLaurin ------ died July 9, 1849
Neill McLaurin ------ died June 16, 1853

Nancy Swain Wilbur was a descendant of Eliphalah Swain, who possessed the first windmill in nantucket. She was a relative of admiral Coffin. The children of Joseph and Nancy MacLaurin now living are Mary, (Mrs Walter Coney of Savannah, Ga.), Launblin and Catherine I. of Wilmington, Maria, (Mrs J.H. Taylor) having died in Nov 1912, and Neill many years ago, also two daughters in infancy.
John McLaurin owned and for many yaears edited the NC Presbyterian with much agility, and a rare power of expression, and stood for all that was high-toned and honorable in the community in which his life passed. His wife, Catherine Blanks, belonged to two well-known families in Wilmington and Sampson County. The children of John and Catherine McLaurin are Betsy, (Mrs N.H. Jones of Curham NC). Mary, (Mrs W.M. Parsley) and Sarah of Wilmington.
Dr. Robert Dickson was a son of James Dickson, a native of Ireland and Anna Mccall of Scotland. The celebrated Dr. James Dickson of Wilmington was a brother; and Joseph Medill, who founded the Chicago Interocean and became such a power in repulican politics was his first cousin. Michael Cronly was the only child of James and Sallie Taylor Cronly of New York city. His parents dying, he was brought up by his uncle, Mr. John A. Taylor of Wilmington. The children are Jane Murphy, Sallie, Taylor, Joseph Murphy,William, (the last four now living) Michael, Douglas, Robert, Dickson, Margaret and Mary Dickson.
Hays w. Beatty was the son of william and sphia gibbs beatty, and the grandson of Sir Kadlei Day of Ireland. William Beatty owned at one time nearly the whole of bladen county.
Duncan McLaurin, the fifth son of Duncan and Mary McLaurin, was the most successful of the brothers, all of whom did well in their adopted country. He owned the stage line running from Cheraw to Wilmington. He died when forty-two, leaving a large fortune to his two children, Hugh and Catherine. He married Mary Mason of S.C., and his daughter married Peter McCullum of Arkansas, but formerly of Robeson County, N.C.
James, the youngest son was the only one who remained at home, except the elder sister, Nancy, who was very small and never married. He married his first cousin, Mary McLaurin, and died when quite young leaving a family of six sons, all of whom but the eldest, Laughlin, removed to Mississippi and died without heirs, except James, who left one son. A daughter married Alexander McKinnon of Robeson Co.
Others of the name were Capt. W.H. Mclaurin of Laurinburg, noted for his bravery in the civil war. He was the last remaining son of Col. Jo C. McLaurin, and much esteemed in the community during his long life of eighty-odd years. Capt. Lauch A. McLaurin lives in Scotland Co., but his seven sons have moved to FL. Among others there are Lohn Lowndes McLaurin of S.C.; Duncan Mclaurin of Dallas, Texas, both men of influence and wealth.

Throughout all the branches of the clan Laurin wherever found, and under whatever circumstances, the family traits seem the same. A kind-hearted, hospitable, people; unselfish and disinterested, easily imposed upon perhaps, and lacking in self assertion. Intellectually, they are remarkably gifted,especially where mathematics are concerned. They have ever been loyal to their ideals, faithful to their friends, and up-right in their dealings with all mankind. Return to the Clan McLaurin